Grace Smith School introduces new air filtration system

THOMAS BRINKERHOFF, Imperial County Air Pollution Control District project manager, cuts a ribbon September 4 unveiling the new air filtration system at Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland.

NILAND — For those who may not have a full understanding, north-end communities, like Niland, are more impoverished than communities to the south. There are no sit-down restaurants, retail shops, and the most intricate parts of these town are the schools. Growth isn’t easy to come by in north-end communities, but that’s just what happened this past week at Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland when they introduced a new state-of-the-art air filtration system.

The new air filtration system, installed by IQAir, will improve the air quality for the students who attend the school. Grace Smith Elementary is located in a part of Niland that has high, ultra-fine toxic matter, which lowers the air quality around the area. That is why Grace Smith Elementary principal Doug Kline sought to change the situation. 

“This is one area where we as a community have one direct focal point, and that is the well-being of our students,” said Kline. “We want to improve the education for our kids. And all the parents and teachers can buy into that.”

The installation of the new air filtration system was sponsored by the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District. Project manager of the APCD Thomas Brinkerhoff says that the installation of the new system will provide wide-ranging health benefit for these students.

“This is the first school in the Imperial County to have an air filtration system as sophisticated as this one,” said Brinkerhoff. “It will greatly improve the indoor air quality in classrooms and the other various buildings here on this campus.” 

Among the many dignitaries who were in attendance, including City of Calipatria and Niland officials and Calipatria Unified School board members, north-end county supervisor Ryan Kelley said that the implementation of this air filtration system in Grace Smith Elementary is just the first step in revitalizing the north-end community.

“This system will have a great impact on the health and wellness of these students,” said Kelley. “The Air Pollution Control District is continuously monitoring and reporting the air quality and are engaged with the state of California, who we hope will take financial responsibility for the well-being of the citizens who live in this community.”

The Grace Smith Elementary principal hopes that providing a healthier environment for his students will enhance the quality of their education.

“This air system will not only filter out pollutants, but also dangerous toxins out of the air,” said Kline. “If we can get some data within the next three years that shows this system is improving the quality of health for our students, it’s gonna say a lot about this air filtration system.”

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